Looking for a few good people
Looking for a few good people
Find the ones to lead transformation
Sometimes, you need someone to lead a project. Sometimes, it's easy. But what about those times when you just can't find someone to take the helm? Helen Macfie, Pharm.D., senior vice president of performance improvement at the six-hospital MemorialCare Health System in Southern California thinks she's got it figured out. She has a top 10 list that might help others, too.
1. Play the outcomes card. Physicians care deeply about patient outcomes. If you can couch your project in terms that make it an imperative for improving them, you're more likely to get a physician on board, says Macfie. "Put it in terms of helping patients."
2. Find their passion. If you know a physician is a closet geek, that person might be a good pick for an IT-based project. Is there someone you call "Gadget Man" because he always has the latest tech device? Put him on a project that looks at how handhelds or tablets can be leveraged to improve efficiency or quality.
3. Take names. If you tell a physician that a respected peer thinks he or she would be ideal for a project, you are more likely to get that physician's help. Ask for nominations, says Macfie. The 2,000-member physician society at the system has a list of projects for the coming year for which physicians are welcome and encouraged to nominate champions. "When your peers see you as an expert, you are more likely to say yes."
4. Get introduced. If you have a name but don't know the physician personally, ask for a formal introduction. Who are you more likely to hire — the salesman who cold calls you looking for a job, or the one who is introduced by a trusted friend? Macfie says that can give you an edge in asking about a project that you might not have if you cold-called the physician.
5. Be selective. Don't ask the same people over and over again. "They have their own business to attend to, as well," she says.
6. Be courteous. If you want a physician to participate, make it convenient. If you routinely schedule meetings for the middle of their work day, they aren't likely to volunteer again. Macfie says they do their QI work in the evening, with dinner brought in for the people working on the project.
7. Put what matters to them at the top. Prioritize with physicians, says Macfie. If you have a list of goals that they have helped create, they are more likely to take part.
8. Reward inclusion. Some organizations pay physicians for this work. Some provide a gift card or other little reward. MemorialCare provides a small stipend for the chairs of the best practice teams. They also publicize teams in the organization newsletter and the intranet. Macfie says just saying "thank you" can go a long way.
9. Be efficient. Macfie says physicians like to be involved in projects where they can make a difference but where their time isn't wasted. Have a well-run agenda and prepare the data in advance so that all the physician has to do is come to a meeting and give his or her advice.
10. Start small. If a physician is busy and says he or she can't help, try to get him or her to participate in a smaller way. Ask if the physician will act as a liaison, or review the output. He or she is likely to be more welcoming of that, says Macfie, and might be more willing to take on more next time. "Groom them for more later," she says.
11. Listen to reason. If they still say no, ask why not. They may give you insight into something you can do differently to encourage greater participation, she says.
12. Take advantage of rules. If you don't get enough volunteers, you may have to rely on regulations — some organizations mandate that physicians spend a certain amount of time on quality improvement projects or various committees. At MemorialCare, the physicians get points for participation under peer review. While it is a tool in the kit, Macfie says it's better to get volunteers.
For more information on this topic, contact Helen Macfie, Pharm.D., Senior Vice President, Performance Improvement, MemorialCare Health System , Fountain Valley, CA. Telephone: (714) 377-2900.Sometimes, you need someone to lead a project. Sometimes, it's easy. But what about those times when you just can't find someone to take the helm? Helen Macfie, Pharm.D., senior vice president of performance improvement at the six-hospital MemorialCare Health System in Southern California thinks she's got it figured out. She has a top 10 list that might help others, too.
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